I have just finished reading Houndstooth by Gary Ruse, an author whose later works I have read with interest, which mostly deal with Australian themes, but this one is a very different kettle of fish.
It is in the genre called Techno-Thriller which is a sort of mix of Sci-Fi and thriller which I had not really come across before, but having read this ebook, I shall certainly look for more examples of this genre.
On Amazon’s Kindle Store it is described as follows:
HOUNDSTOOTH set the stage for techno-thriller novels that would follow a decade or more later. It’s the story of a special German Shepherd dog, “Major,” part of an Army dog handling experiment using a micro brain implant linked to computers and satellite relays to allow a remote handler to see what the dog is seeing and send him commands. Major is sent on an emergency spy mission deep into Russia.
So not only was Gary Ruse ahead of his time with this novel, which he wrote in 1975 and originally published as a paper book (obviously) and has now brought out as an ebook which you can buy at both Smashwords and the kindle Store, but has shown what a skilled writer he is in his mastery of several very different writing genres.
It all revolves around a dog…..
As stated above, the sort of hero of this book is the dog, Major, who is sent off on a very dangerous and extremely important mission to spy on a Russian plan to upset the balance of power between Russia and the USA, and the various adventures that befall the pooch in the course of his mission. Obviously there is a full cast of both Americans and Russians who are equally engaging as characters. One of the key aspects of Gary’s writing is that no one, from the dog to the nastiest Russian is a stereotype, they all have many layers to their personalities, and thus hold our interest and sympathy throughout the book.
Also, and this is important with this sort of story, he has done his research carefully, so the main idea is firmly based on actual research, and is not totally fanciful. Scary idea I find, having the possibility of seeing what a dog or some other creature is seeing whilst sitting at a video screen in another country.
Happily though, all his research has not resulted in a book that feels more like a sort of thesis than a thriller as is so often the case with heavily researched books (Forsyth springs to mind here for that failing). Gary uses the research with a light hand, so it all seems perfectly reasonable, and one never gets the feeling one is reading a slightly fanciful article in The Scientific American.
All in all, a very satisfying and gripping thriller to pass a pleasant evening’s reading, and one that I enjoyed enormously and can recommend to anyone who likes thrillers. As they say, I had difficulty putting it down once I had started to read it.
Where to get it:
Amazon: In Kindle Format. (you can also buy it in paper format at Amazon)
Smashwords: In a whole range of formats.
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